When everything you touch could be a source of infection, you’re going to want one of the best UV wands to help sanitize your daily possessions.
That might seem like the overreaction of a germaphobe, but new data shows that the germaphobes were right all along. COVID-19 can survive for up to 28 days on money and smartphone screens, according to newly released research from Australia’s national science agency.
You might not think about it because the actions are so mindless, but you’re constantly touching your phone and wallet when you’re out and about in the world. That’s typically fine, but it’s not so fine when you could be passing germs from the environment to the things you touch most and bringing them into your home where they can affect you and anyone you live with.
Though there is no longer a shortage of medical masks out there (you can find great masks for athletics and general-purpose masks from a number of retailers now), every time you reuse a mask or touch a contaminated surface and then touch something else you risk spreading germs unless you disinfect afterward.
Below, we’ll share the best UV wands for sale right now as well as some basic information on these sanitizers.
Do UV Wands Really Work?
A UV wand can be waved over any object to help kill any viruses on the surface with ultraviolet light, the same kind of invisible light from the sun that can cause sunburn and hurt your eyes. Popular UV sanitizers like PhoneSoap can kill 99.99% of viruses and bacteria on surfaces, but we couldn’t find much research on the effectiveness of UV wands when it comes to stopping the spread of disease or eliminating the coronavirus specifically. Even so, we know many people are investing in UV wands and phone sanitizers for peace of mind alone.
Here’s what we do know about UV wands:
- Ultraviolet light kills bacteria and viruses by irradiating them to death. This process of irradiation, basically pointing too strong of light at the germs, breaks down the genes in bacteria and viruses, effectively rendering them useless.
- To use any UV wand, slowly wave the wand over the given object or surface a few times from a couple of inches away to disinfect. Taking more passes and/or holding the UV wand over something for a longer period of time will increase the likelihood of disinfecting successfully.
- Never, ever point a UV wand at any person or animal, especially in the skin or eyes. UV light is known to damage living things at certain wavelengths, so you should never point the UV wand at anybody else for any amount of time.
- The wavelength of UV light matters for effectiveness. The germicidal range, or the range of wavelengths of UV light required to kill most germs and bacteria, is between 100-280 nanometers. The vast majority of products that use UV light to disinfect use UV light with wavelengths between 254 and 280 nm. In theory, that range of ultraviolet light should kill E. coli, some varieties of the flu and other common bacteria and viruses.
- But when it comes to the coronavirus, scientists have not yet figured out if those wavelengths kill coronavirus. Studies have only confirmed that UV light at 222 nm kills the novel coronavirus while also being safe enough to use on humans. So while it’s possible the best UV wands in that 254-280 nm range will kill the coronavirus, no studies have specifically shown that.
Here’s the bottom line: the scientific community is still figuring out the effectiveness of UV light on the coronavirus. But remember this: Sunlight really can be the best disinfectant. Studies have shown sunlight to be effective against the coronavirus.
Now that we know a thing or two about what to expect from the best UV wands, check out some of our picks below.
1. Sharper Image TrueUV Light Sanitizer
It’s tried and true and reliable, it’s the Sharper Image TrueUV Light Sanitizer. We recommend the UV wand from Sharper Image mostly because the company’s been making it since well before millions of people wanted it and we trust its reliability. It’s also foldable and portable and is powered through 4 AAA batteries. To keep you safe, the sanitizer also turns off automatically when turned to face upward. The Sharper Image sanitizer fold-up wand is a safe, solid product and we think it’s the best UV wand for most people in most situations.
2. 59S UV Light Sanitizer Wand
The 59S UV Light Sanitizer Wand is an overall solid UV wand with a lot of basic, useful features all in one package. First, it uses among the most ultraviolet LED lights we found. The UV wand itself is somewhat large to accommodate all those lights, but because it’s foldable it’s very compact for its size. Though this UV wand uses UV light in the 260-280 nm range, that’s still enough UV light to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. The bulbs themselves are rated for 10,000 hours and the battery is rechargeable so you’ll be able to disinfect hundreds of times no problem.
But in addition to adding useful things like foldability and a rechargeable battery, 59S didn’t skimp on basic safety features. A safety lock keeps the UV wand locked in place so children have a harder time accidentally activating it. And even if they did, the UV wand has an auto-shutoff feature when it flips over to minimize the chance of accidental exposure. The wand even comes with a set of safety goggles. Overall, the 59S UV Light Sanitizer is one of the best UV wands out there. It’s only downside is its relatively expensive price for consumer-friendly UV wands.
3. Vanelc UV Light Sanitizer Wand
The Vanelc UV Light Sanitizer Wand is another overall solid UV wand. In this case, we also mean literally solid. It’s one 12-inch long wand without about 7 inches of UV LED lights for sturdy waving. It uses UV light with wavelengths between 260 and 280 nm and is rated to run for over 10,000 hours for plenty of disinfecting. Vanelc also didn’t forget safety: The device shuts off automatically after 180 seconds, which also saves power, and there’s a child lock so it’s more difficult to accidentally turn on. Throw in a price under $100 and the Vanelc wand’s made a pretty solid case for itself as one of the best UV wands.
4. Wodesid Portable LED Light Wand
Price is always important to consider for anything, especially if you can get a product with similar features to a pricier product. The Wodesid Portable LED Light Wand promises disinfection with reasonable features at a reasonable price. The wand itself is quite long at 15 inches, with 7-8 inches of UV LED lights in the 270-280 nm range. There’s a hook tip for hanging it and a magnet bottom for holding tools or for securing the wand to a metal surface. It runs on a USB rechargeable battery, features a flashlight, a charging light so you know when the battery’s full and will run for 100 minutes on a 60-minute charge. That doesn’t sound like much but that’s a lot of uses on a single charge, which is impressive for a cheaper UV wand.
We don’t think the Wodesid wand is very portable at its length and the wavelengths are at the upper end for disinfection, but it’s cheap and better than nothing if you have a larger bag to travel with or plan to keep it at home. If price is your bottom line, the Wodesid wand is the best UV wand for you.
5. Gakus UV Light Sanitizer Wand
SMALLEST UV WAND
Portability is always helpful in any product because what we can take with us, we take with us. The JS LifeStyle UV Light Sanitizer Wand is only 7.5 inches long so it’ll fit in most small bags easily or even a large pocket. But despite its small travel-friendly size, it still promises to deliver enough UV light to kill 99.9% of germs. Not to mention this UV wand uses a USB rechargeable battery and gets you three to four hours of use on a full charge. If price and portability are key for you, the Gakus wand is the best UV wand for you.
6. JS LifeStyle UV Light Sanitizer Wand
When dealing with anything light bulb-related it’s helpful to know how long the bulb is rated to last. If the bulbs last longer, you’ll be able to get a lot more use out of your UV wand. That’s what you can get with the JS LifeStyle UV Light Sanitizer Wand. It claims an expected service life of 20,000 hours. And it’s a decent-sized UV wand too, at almost 14.5 inches long with a flat light-emitting surface that’s about 1.5-inches wide. Because it’s rechargeable you’ll be able to get years of 260-280 nm UV light for all your disinfection needs.